Bayern Munich had insane swings of emotion during its 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. The Bavarians started off incredibly hot, trailed out, lost the lead twice, but somehow did not play all that bad.
However, you argue that Leverkusen was the better, more consistent side on the day – especially over the final 70 minutes or so. Regardless, there is a lot to talk about, so let’s get to it:
- Let’s take a look at Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI:
- The decision to start Konrad Laimer over Noussair Mazraoui at right-back was certainly interesting. Is Mazraoui banged up or is he another player, who has worked his way into Tuchel’s doghouse? It seems like Tuchel just really liked how Laimer performed in the role prior to the international break.
- Similarly, the longer this goes on, the more it really does appear that Tuchel has an issue with Matthijs de Ligt (as some recent reports have made note of).
- It was also great to see Tuchel roll out the combination of Thomas Müller and Harry Kane for this match.
- Joshua Kimmich being available also gave Tuchel some optionality with the lineup.
- Laimer could have put Bayern Munich up in the fourth minute, but he just scuffed his attempt from point-blank range. That would have been an excellent way to start.
- Laimer was active as a right-back and looked very comfortable in the role. Frankly, he was an animal defensively. It was a good performance for the Austrian.
- Bayern Munich was absolutely buzzing early in the match.
- Bayer Leverkusen did not look ready for the importance of such a match and made mistake after mistake in the early stages.
- Kane took advantage of a careless flick backward by a Bayer Leverkusen defender and put his head on the ball for calm header goal and a 1-0 Bayern Munich lead in the 7th minute. Leroy Sane had the initial corner delivery.
- Kimmich and Leon Goretzka were very solid on the day in the central midfield.
- The first half was looking like it would easily be Bayern Munich’s best of the season…until about the 20 minute mark. Then, it got wonky. A foul on Müller just outside the box resulted in a free kick for Bayer Leverkusen, which was perfectly hit home by Álex Grimaldo to knot the game at 1-1.
- Bayern Munich lost some of the pep in its step after that. The wind was clearly out of Bayern Munich’s proverbial sails.
- Lukas Hradecky was also an issue as he seemed to be EVERYWHERE. That had to be one of the best halves of his career.
- Bayern did — once again — had trouble getting Kane involved in the box throughout the course of the game. While it still is early to be overly concerned, it is a trend that needs to change.
- Speaking of Kane, when he did get a tremendous look at the goal from close-range, he rifled his attempt right off of Hradecky.
- Tuchel pulled Müller and Kimmich after 60 minutes, but brought in Jamal Musiala and Noussair Mazraoui. It did not appear as coach was overly thrilled with the team’s play at that point. Kimmich’s removal was likely precautionary and Tuchel likely just wanted to see if Musiala could ignite things (Spoiler alert: He could not). Kimmich was not thrilled with the early exit and it did not appear as if Müller was either.
- By that point, though, Bayern Munich was in a funk and not looking anything like the team that was so dominant in the first 20 minutes.
- In the 78th minute, Florian Wirtz should have given his team the lead but he hit the far post. Just a minute later, Kim Min-jae took a horrible angle in trying to cut off Victor Boniface, who should have also given his team the lead. This time, Sven Ulreich did just enough to make the stop.
- If you took away the first 20 minutes of the match, you might have concluded that Bayer Leverkusen was the better team.
- Finally, though, things broke through for Bayern Munich when Mathys Tel made space for himself on the left side and slid a perfect pass to Goretzka, who calmly put the ball home for a 2-1 in the 86th minute. What a crazy turn of events!
- Boniface probably airmailed three to four excellent chances in the match. Bayern Munich should be thankful for that.
- For what it is worth, Serge Gnabry was largely ineffective.
- Bayern Munich’s backline played admirably in the end. There were a few miscues, but it was good work by each defender…until Alphonso Davies made silly, unnecessary contact with Jonas Hofmann, who drew the penalty. Yes, it was a little soft, but the bottom line is that it was avoidable.
- Exequiel Palacios calmly hit the PK and…that is how Bayern Munich coughed up a certain win and turned it into a draw.
- Overall, Bayern Munich probably deserved a draw. If the Bavarians could bottle up that first 20 minutes and spread it over the course of 90 minutes, the team might be unstoppable. Until fans see more fluidity in the attack and more consistency from the team overall, it will have many folks feeling a bit uneasy about things.
Bayern Munich still is eyeing a move for Fulham FC midfielder João Palhinha in January, which Fabrizio Romano confirmed. However, Romano also said that Fulham will command a “huge fee”:
FC Bayern want to try again for João Palhinha in January despite new deal signed yesterday #FCBayern
Sources believe new contract was key to give João an improved salary after crazy Deadline Day story but it won’t change plan to sell him for huge fee in 2024. pic.twitter.com/3z7zNreuOy
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 15, 2023
After an extremely crazy week with the German national team and also Bayern Munich getting back to action in a Friday match vs. Bayer Leverkusen, get ready for a Weekend Warm-up/Preview Show combo — it’s a two-for-one deal!
On this episode, we will discuss the following hot topics:
- A preview of Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen — an absolutely key match for the Bavarians in the Bundesliga — Jamal Musiala and Raphaël Guerreiro should be available, but what about Joshua Kimmich?
- The unsettled situations of Matthijs de Ligt and Leon Goretzka at Bayern Munich — and what it might mean for their futures with the club.
- A look at Hansi Flick’s tenure as coach of Germany and where it all went wrong, plus, is Julian Nagelsmann the next man up?
- A review of All or Nothing — The German national team in Qatar and why that probably foretold Flick getting sacked.
Chelsea FC is reportedly going to make a strong push for Napoli’s Victor Osimhen:
Chelsea have made Napoli striker Victor Osimhen their top target for the 2024 summer transfer window and may have even struck an agreement to sign the Nigeria international already.
One-time Bayern Munich transfer target Kyle Walker signed a contract extension with Manchester City through 2026:
Yes, we may be a Bayern Munich podcast, but a debacle of this magnitude deserves some special consideration. Germany were just crushed 4-1 by Japan, and Hansi Flick is a dead man walking. There is no way he can continue after a result like this, but is it all his fault? This generation of German talent has failed to demonstrate anything resembling the quality, poise, and ruthlessness of previous national team setups. So who do you blame, the coach or the players?
In this episode, INNN and Cyler discuss the following:
- Hansi Flick needs to go now — there is no way he can survive.
- The mentality problem at Germany, and how they seem checked out.
- How everything went wrong tactically for Hansi Flick versus Japan.
- Why have all the experiments gone wrong? Where did Flick fall short?
- How would a new coach — Julian Nagelsmann, Oliver Glasner, Thomas Tuchel, etc. — fix this team, if it can be fixed?
- How much blame should go to the players versus the coach?
- Where are the top quality players in this German NT setup? Where are the players who would cut it at Bayern Munich — especially in defense?
- The Borussia Dortmund connection — Niklas Süle, Nico Schlotterbeck, Emre Can, Julian Brandt, etc. — and how it drags the team down.
- Is İlkay Gündoğan the right man for Germany?
- Comparing this team composition to the 2014 team and how it comes up short.
- What’s wrong with the youth setup at Germany and should there be a complete overhaul?
- Final word — who’s at fault, the players or the coach? And should Flick go?
For years, it has been rumored that FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski would like to move to MLS at the end of his career to help further expand his personal brand. Now, though, the thought of a move to the United States is not even in his brain, nor is a
cash grab jump to Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t even think about it (going to Saudi). I’m super happy in Barcelona, in the team, in the city, with my family. As a person I am happy,” the Polish national team captain said. “Before the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of MLS was firmly in my head, but somehow I changed my mind afterwards. After the Barcelona chapter, it’s hard to imagine going there.”
Lewandowski then veered off into some odd territory (for him) — the evolution of his mentality as a player.
“Before Barcelona I was a machine, here I have become more human,” said Lewandowski. “Some of the comments about the number of goals I scored were crazy, especially in the 41-goal season at Bayern (beating Gerd Müller’s Bundesliga record). Breaking records is no longer my main goal. The most important thing is to help my team win and enjoy the matches. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to succeed and score goals, but I’m not as tenacious as I used to be.”